African American Women and the College Presidency: Leadership Pedagogy Through a Social Justice Lens



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African American women college presidential leadership is more than bureaucratic or technical leadership styles, or a set of skills or traits. African American women college president’s leadership is pedagogical, meaning it is rooted in teaching and learning. The purpose of this research investigation is to amplify the role that African American women educators have played historically and contemporaneously as social activists and pedagogues on college campuses and how these historical experiences influence the social justice leadership approaches and resiliency of present-day African American women college presidents. Eight African American women college presidents participated in this qualitative case study and data was collected through pre-interview surveys, semi-structured interviews, and reviewing one multimedia source from each participant where they made written or verbal statements addressing social justice, equity, or inclusion. The data collected from this study were analyzed and interpreted through the theoretical frameworks of Black womanist pedagogy and endarkened feminist epistemology. Combined, these two theoretical frameworks provided evidence of the conceptual framework of Black Womanist Leadership Pedagogy. Results of this study revealed that African American women college presidents employ a social justice and equity framework to their leadership approaches by keeping a daily commitment to social justice work, leading and designing programs with a social justice and equity mindset, providing consistent communication and messaging about social justice and equity to university constituents, and by being intentional with incorporating diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging into their campus culture. Through learning about the social justice leadership practices of African American women college presidents, this study fills a gap in educational leadership literature by providing research on the social justice leadership practices specifically enacted in higher education.



Education, Higher